A First for Pandora: Sponsored Full-Album Streams

Ad-supported Internet radio site Pandora.com is launching a new program under which sponsors can fund free streaming of new albums by major recording artists.

Water filter manufacturer Brita, as part of its “Filter for Good” campaign, is sponsoring the first of these campaigns. Its ads will support the free streaming of the Dave Matthews Band’s new album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. The streamed version will be available a week before the album is officially released.

The campaign will include Pandora homepage takeover tuner skins, mobile banner ads, a Brita-branded online radio station featuring Dave Matthew’s Band music and a custom landing page. It will urge people to refill reusable water bottles, with tap water cleansed by Brita filters.

The custom landing page contains links to a pledge form. Those who sign will receive Brita filter coupons and be able to buy a Nalgene reusable water bottle. Pandora Media SVP of Ad Sales Cheryl Lucanegro said Pandora is already negotiating more advertiser-sponsored album-release events and hopes the new approach will be one of the most popular in Pandora’s portfolio. “Anytime you are dealing with people on the Internet and they want to be entertained, there’s an opportunity for advertising,” Lucanegro said. She said Pandora has a registered user base of about 27 million people. It runs ads from national brands including HP, Microsoft, Honda, Procter & Gamble and Nike.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren told Bloomberg.com that the company plans to increase the number of audio commercials it plays per hour as more people start using mobile devices to listen to Pandora. Bloomberg reported Pandora expects to double its revenue this year, to $40 million and could reach profitability next year.

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